Sunday, August 19, 2012

Microfinancing is fine but its finite in focus

The model for 99% of the economy might not be workable for 1% at one end -The really productive and really risky bit .
Microfinancing will not address primary production poverty on its own .The role of government is critical there . The conversation in the home of blunt instruments could almost be irrelevant not exist when so many are living off margins of 10% or larger . With returns to capital of less than 2% rural land producers need solid ownership ,capital , inheritance and use laws ( focus more on capital security rather than income security)
Economic policy which does not look at a capital security as well as income security  is cheap , blinkered and nasty.
"Microfinancing is a great thing to rebadge finance to help development happen ,but the best of the West means government also get involved both to avoid cannibalization ,leverage and constitutional security for the benefit of the family the new bank is focused on helping . eg savings and loan in the US - no one noticed that real productivity on the ground was no longer the focus .
Government is also needed to avoid new banks going to industry sectors that pay well consistently and avoiding those who need both long term support but long term capital security in ownership and laws which limit their high exposure to risk.
New banks always needed to focus on real productivity but producers need MORE more than handouts and loans at rates of say 5% that any secondary industry can easily cope with  .
Focusing on farmers will send new banks broke . All industry is not the same and for the first time in history only the citizens and benefactors of the modern industrial estate think that one model of success and sustainability can work
Short term gain in support can clearly lead to long term pain in productivity.
Silly stupid sectors call for more money for areas of need ONLY . Screw our most productive sector any more and it will shrink like it is now.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sustainable or screw you jack economics ?

Trickle down doesn't always work. Blaming rich people prevents a  focus on the real reasons it doesn't work. I propose  a reform that might help better target the confusion.
The trickle down squash effect.
You heard it first on blogger 20th July 2012 ( Note its not meant to address urban and non rural realities )
The idea being that competition policy has its limits - quite natural limits . While it can work up top in retail and construction (where margins are more predictable and products more durable)   at the top, ---the uncertainties at the bottom put far too much pressure on the land and those who work the land .
 The people who feed us are often very poor and the way to reduce this huge destabilizing thing is for the 90% of people who live in cities to "not screw " the environment and those who seek to care for it . Screwing the system is acceptable in some industries but not clearly in agriculture,where margins are seldom predictable and often negative. The supply and demand curves provide succour only for speculators !( please note that in gambling only the fastest, most focused and most well heeled can be expected to win ; the hangers on and the trickle down addicts are their own worst enemies )

All industry is not the same and its not sensible to assume the people will benefit by screwing the lot ;governments love affair with market economics and the easy and quick dollar is a big problem here in australia .  .

Sound  life and economic  activity builds on diversity, not uniformity. Sharing not screwing the system .

We producers are, like the Afgans, under pressure to  all end up growing opium and fuel for the rich if the quick fix market gurus keep having their way

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Age woes

The AGE's current woes are largely of their own making. It would be unwise of THE AGE supporters  to blame Reinhart , even though the issue of control weighs heavily on many of those who want the AGE to survive  . The Age has been captured , which is a bit like saying its conspiracy not cockup that's killing it. All these maladjustments are internal but only capture and conspiracy are real diseases that hide,  eat away and destroy the substance behind the scenes .Reinhardt may be real , but with the external,   its always easier to deal .
The Age's problems are not about its independence ( hasn't shown much in some areas now for a long time )  but about the ability of the profession to put all sides ( diversity ) Where is the Age 's own version of ABolt ? There are a few dissidents within the fold  , I must agree, but that's not the point .
The views are not meant to be inside the paper's minds,  but outside them.
Any good journo can put the sides forward .  THE Age just hasn't told the other half of some critical local story for decades . Like ABCTV ,  many of us have grown up with relying on the AGE and the ABC for informed comment on the issues of the day .Maybe the Age has  been too close to the railway and not close enough to the stations?
However , in the last ten years I have dropped my subscription to the Age and now get the Australian ( Brandis's sound point on the difference on qanda)  The Age in my area of work is not only highly predictable and too simple , but just does not respond to requests to put the other side of the story - THE AGE has not been publishing half the story for decades- say in Fyffe's territory
2005 the limits of the vilification laws ; the pedantry and poor focus of using VCAT to run trials , 2007 the unquestioning acceptance of the god assumption with making water instead of conserving and recycling water ; 2008 the wonthaggi white elephant 2009 the inevatble disaster of allowing the people to think themselves safe  in the sacred forest ; 2010 the lack of pointed comment of the government  at white washed royal commission findings;   2011 the inevitable loss of power by Labor who were unwarned and overly comfortable in their ignorance.
Brandis was only half right last night on Qand A. The future  is a bit about quality,  but it's more about diversity.  What the Internet lacks in quality it more than makes up for in diversity and genuine disputability.
Neither the Age nor the Age currently make room for the latter . They MUST NOW do so -------to survive let alone retain relevance !
Diversity is more important than quality just like Voltaire might have said to Brandis and Tim  . "Don't hang it on him for HOW he said it , hang it on him for any lack of truth in what he said ."  
Until both polys and wannabes recognise their job is to take and put " much advice ",  thus correct , reform and refine  they will continue to be both out of touch and out the door; Irrelevant and out of touch - many like them about !
There is a God and He doesn't live in houses and institutions made by man.
Do we want THE AGE  to survive?  you bet we do . But not as a vehicle for insiders views . We want THE AGE  to reform itself - keep the backbone, but ditch the predictable pitches/ pitchers.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Warm water taxes

Australia's current Labor government and their advisers are desperate. They have "Change"  on their minds and Change it will be . The only problem is that the things they have tried to help change , evolutionary  (philo) and otherwise are not working and getting less and less effective ( media campaigns)in the convincing stakes  - the supposedly natural process needs some anthro po morphic help- BUT which has the better reputation for winning ?Which would you choose,(human or the hidden mechanism ?)  or would you be looking for another?
The people are no longer accepting the ABC and particular parties as God like in all this . About time because they ,if they stopped watching the sermons for a while , and returned to thinking for themselves  they would realise they never really trusted the political agencies before. The scared alliance of ABC/Left though on Q&A is a tough beast because it uses the general respect we have for the ABC to lever "the cause barrow" of those who would never,unlike SBS, allow the debate to be run by mere scientists ( whom they say they respect,  but don't if they don't agree with them  )
The most telling aspect of their grand scheme running out of ammo is their now almost total reliance on cost incentives to motivate . We would have told them years ago that such things are wrong both culturally and morally because they hide the blame for poor choices in the household budget -its a simple and as stupid as that . By the way, how high does the price of pain have to go,  to work-to be effective ?
We are already paying more to buy God given water that we pay to process it with poo in it .Vic water plans this week.
Somehow we as a family are responsible ( not the govt ) for wasting resources and WE must pay . While of course there is some truth in that resoeurce rent taxes can be justified ( eg on fuel) the effectiveness of taxing the poor differentially is that the poor feel it and the rich and wasteful DO NOT . For a labor government to run this crap highlights a low point in its history. We are not supposed to notice these taxes OR waste in bureau they will create.
All parties must regain a higher view of man if they are to motivate us all in ways that worked before . Without such a World View,  we are headed for more dictation and crass autocracy .

During the Kennett led decline ,education became the focus, but this denies the denial risks we health professionals  always see lurking - something that some parties now make a big thing of . Like doctors we can't say our clients can be trusted to be objective about their health or their eco resources health; Its about objectivity and sound foundations.

If you look closely you will see that the educational focus of government has declined and both Labor and green policy are NOW very coercive.As health professionals our clients do not need to be told all about blood pressure as much as they just need to be told what to STOP doing !The new boys are are learning the lesson that you must not rely on the media - they can be more fickle than the public
 The current governments crass reliance on warm water taxes (Copyright EA 9th June 2012)and cost driven pressure points  is in itself unsustainable; how much does a packet of cigaretes have to cost before people stop  smoking ?)  .

It now costs more to buy water than to treat the wastewater( vic)  Governments  are, like media,  now desperate to find ways to motivate people .Objective  Care ( even coercive care) is the most effective because its sees the hard choices with benefits at the end ( what study and science does ) and it is proactive and preventative to boot . These matters basic to professional health care are being lost to our collective wisdom on the subject of env, if not to human health care.
Not that conservatives know any better ( and maybe care less about scarcity and sharing and waste???) This is blatantly obvious in the Victorian Government ,who with Kennett and Walsh thought they had solved alll the green problems last time around . As dumb modern apologists for industry , some Liberals  have put all their eggs in one basket;  like so many they think corporate responsibility ( sack the CEO )will create heaven when a really credible way of encouraging personal responsibility and sound training of public servants has to be there; only PR will create the best of all systems of democracy that have been tried . In their hypocritical criticisms of public servants they have trashed professionalism and sound science within it , created an unsustainable and ignorant management class, Class acts have walked off the job and they think performance testing will work .Talk about upsetting the teachers for no good reason !Business in not govt
Many operatives in environment are not qualified to make tough scientific decisions so the job ahead for the States is enormous .
Is the incompetence of the States big enough to cause their own downfall ? In showing so little respect for building science in environment our pollies have left holes big enough for big machinery to drive straight through . Libs need to stop wrecking their home and rebuild it with the bricks their forefathers used .

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Short term gain long term pain

The productivity myths of modern politicians are pretty simple - terribly simple , scarily simple. That wannabes run on simple ideas is completely understandable and quite rational but ,,,, if you haven't worked that out yet , not everything important comes to those who can follow the last line of an argument ; like Tony jones does on Q&A when he " moves on " ( and would be stupid to describe this point as " the end " ( go see The Best Marigold Hotel ")
While the wannabes  havago at each other in the house,  they are  all singing from the same song sheet . "It its efficient,  it will save us ".  Note it is not the song  " if its efficient it will screw us"  ( much more realistic and balanced ) or if ( could be Julia's footnote on history ) if it doesn't work ( not effective) even the greatest tax idea of the century will be lost  .(TGEINOBI)
The depth of the efficiency / effectiveness paradoxes are too deep to explore here - except to say that while we need both , we can't afford a disconnect between both .(esp effectiveness and purposefulness.)
Clearly if we are to be like nature,  we should,  at the very least ,  be efficient ( esp in the sense that we don't waste things . Even Aristotle got that - see Etiene Gilson  ) .
Our problem is that we are
not very effective and .a bit arrogant ....worse,  we don't admit why we are poorly targeting our technology ( Ellul and other knew why but we are .. ...    well to be generous,          not at that line yet )

Why don't Liberals go back to talking radical liberalism rather than contining to follow Labor into the cul de sac of mere market fundamentalism . After all , if economic policy amounts to balancing the budget , the Libs  can't win. The Libs can save all they like ,but if Labor spends it all - Labor wins . If people see themselves as mainly dependant consumers and not independant producers  the  traffic is one way,  and even if efficient - its not effective in the long term .

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Climate Change is CLEARLY the reason for all our problems

Today 21st March .
The National Press Club ran a very inadequate panel discussion on a subject that deserves more of the same. Rural poverty and the real risks of food production substitution .  However the silly distraction that CC forced on the discussion meant that KEY political will questions were missed .  "The problem of exploitation of rural sector did not arise because of climate change.
Our leaders waste our time and taxes getting distracted from real drivers ." 

The agricultural experts on the panel seemed have no idea that these well intentioned discussions have been going on for eons , and do nothing to solve the bigger picture issues BECAUSE they are doing the same thing as those before -- they accept the nonsense that productivity is the problem . Do your homework guys or go home !( esop thoise of you that want conservation  to cut  more deeply )

CC and CT credibility is at an all time low.  Now the press must carry some of the blame . They broadcast just about anything that puts CC on the agenda . Key reporters like Duffy's last week on Cape Grim  suggest that " both droughts and floods are the result of CC" . Even if the sciences and geol record would  support him ( they don't) , he appears to many as if he is trying,  like the greens,  to have it both ways .
In Santayana's  terms, these are the times , (when the argument is being shored up by doubled up efforts,)    that the label of fanatical is to be expected .Certainly  the air is filled with a sense of that being the case . Who then is being the most fanatical here ?

CC and carbon tax now don't even target the whole carbon economy focusing now largely on coal . " Clean energy future " talk should focus on petrol , diesel and gas and biofuels to be credible.  The government is not credible on Carbon econmy and even the greens and independents seem unable to say so . The 1000's of pages to " make it work " beggars belief from even the least educated person in the country .

Interestingly the PM reckons that the opposition leaders is running a fear campaign .Fanatics love to use the fear tactic .  Is the truth then closer to " takes one to know one "

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

It's our job to worry

Whenever our wannabes have some doubts about their propensity to cry wolf  they comfort themselves in their panic driven moments by saying" its our job to worry" . Without Greenlabor they think "who else is going to look after the environment "  . "We can't trust farmers and we certainly can't trust those who represent industry"  all important questions .
But its not their job to worry. Its their job to get to the heart of the matter .

Professional scientists who specialize in risk don't worry - well not nearly as much as most others who find variability a threat to their 2 ledger driven lives .  . The best way to avoid unreasonable worry is To get advice that uncovers the risk manager and let him speak .
That is as long as your next term in office isn't dependant on YOU solving a problem ; A problem that you have beat up into something you can fix . A real catastrophe.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Economic perfection

 If I was reincarnated, I would vote for being in retailing. If heaven is a full plate every night,   16% will get you there . Roger Corbett , Former chairman of Woolworths appeared on the ABC brim full of the sort of confidence that shakes those of who struggle with trying to keep order in the real world .
The scary part was that both Mr Corbett and the interviewer were talking as though this market means was  God's gift to the world.( it maybe in part)  The temptation to think so narrowly about success is  strong because the road is straight and clear- a comfort zone; there is god and there is no other .
  In the big picture there are always constraints .

The confidence with which retailers retain economic stability is attractive to modellers and big picture eco people . The trouble is that politicains and wannabes seem to want to adopt trading as some sort of perfect model.   Grocers may know about intersecting J curves ( eg agricultural supply and demand) but they certainly don't need to worry about them ; 16% on everything is easy 
When politicians start thinking they can run the country like traders , they forget that we pay the bills . Woolworths works well because their key focus is on keeping the margin low and because the people only support them if they do. (The model for them is OK and infact very helpful for efficiency and effectiveness in some parts of business- its limits work as limits , make sense and keep good ( not perfect) order )
Governments who think they can buy the information they need, need to think again . What is the price of invisible cloth? . From the retailers point of  view , the customer is always right  and..  Why answer all your questions in one when you will pay me individually for each one in order ?  Believe me its much easier to subdivide a problem than to put it together again . Beside there is that 16% for each question
The more questions th
e better for us.     The margin model doesn't fit  good governance cause margins in ecomia are all over the place in terms of reflecting value for money 
All around us , from the problems in the Eurozone to USA,  we have governments who have overspent on trading in information sources and simple efficiency seeking( very easy) . Goverenmnets must know the answers to soem of the questions they are asking . To some extent a government is only as good as the advice it's capable of giving itself

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Missing the point about disasters

RE  Hundreds die under landslides in the Phillipines this week
Westerners rightly love to celebrate the advantages for the world of trade and free enterprise in communities, but many DO NOT see how, in quite rational ways , they are cultivating disaster .We (as prevention specialists) see it cause our leaders are sacking us and funding quick fix .
((Capitalism and free enterprise are generally productive for most countries and provide a means to an end . However the unproductive ( Weber s critical point ) and distorting  elements need to be balanced by good governance ))
SO the failure of many successful  westerners to see BOTH sides OF why the West has more or less mastered economic and ecological balance is a real bummer .To have balance we must have tension and with only the love of freedom WE have had no tension .
Many of my own baby boomers generation do not  sense the limits of their love of freedom ( current financial crisis may assist in changing this) .Their children are having children without the testosterone element present;Over 1/3 of our daughters are trying to bring up children without a male (This imbalance in families and communities creates not more freedom, but real disasters 
Distractedly too, many do not to see the very rational point of planning and the need for coercion on the basis of studied foresight . This childish one eyed worship of freedom now clouds the Wests view of disaster planning ( war landslides, flooding)
While its true that Departments still bear all the right names, the humpty dumpty of sound ecological ,and therefore finally economic,  planning is still broken ;
Emergencies are funded , therefore emergencies grow.Chresmatics is in control and Oikonomia is just a talking point and "the echo" to the main game of  "doing your own thing ".
The West (and its eastern roots  )once lived and grew as a resilience growing economic method - it stabilized because it practiced the tension ( even if it didn't understand it) between resource control ( basically place)resource understanding (age,training and experience)  and resource use freedom ( basically ideas)  

One of the critical distinctions needing to made by aid agencies in their dumb following of new trends (even now they are changing focus -- a huge reason to be more critical of them than most are) is the Western governments  long time control of land ownership and leasing .This land use planning focus was once the most prominent forms of coercion in humans  development of a rural resilience culture ( note the themes in the OT book of Ruth) Ask me for more here. The rush to reassert the clear overdominance of government in the last decades has caused the baby of regional planning to be thrown out with the bathwater.( in many areas where it really works)
Our own local governments have often lost sight of land use controls (U have to have a passion for pretension to promote it) and the neccesity for land leasee,  so its completely understandable that when we go overseas, we don't see the need for something that made us great : Restricting finance for land occupation .No cultural development can occur without it .
The thousands  of people who die under landslides each year should not be allowed to live where they live .
as in our own country TODAY,  governance is /governance models are weak and do not insist on restricting access to land . Bligh and Brumby appear to go into history without confession on this matter.You heard it first here and first on blogger.

The modern Wests love of freedom is a form of slow acting poison in poor rural communities? More here